Letter from . . . May 1987
The profits of subsidy
On Trevor Nunn and Peter Hall.
The best drama in London of late has been in the government-subsidized wings. Last June 29, London’s Sunday Times announced on its front page, “Exit Nunn and Hall in cash row,” promptly unleashing a torrent of debate. Trevor Nunn and Peter Hall—the artistic directors of the Royal Shakespeare Company and the National Theatre respectively—were, the article alleged, being asked to step down amidst cries that they had used government monies to grease their own palms. Amadeus, said the paper, had made Hall a millionaire at the theater’s expense, netting him over three million dollars as against the theater’s $750,000. Nicholas Nickleby and, especially, Les Misérables were said to be doing the same for Nunn, who was profiting disproportionately to the theater that spawned those shows. In addition, the RSC as a whole was said to be suffering since...
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